Artists-in-residence announced for the 2019-20 cycle of Shandaken: Governors Island


New York, NY, December 9, 2019 – Shandaken Projects is pleased to announce the residents of the second season of Shandaken: Governors Island. Four individual artists and one collaborative group, all based in New York City, have been awarded one year of free studio space on Governors Island. As part of their residency with Shandaken: Governors Island, these cultural practitioners will have the opportunity to explore and learn about Governors Island and create work responding to its rich history, unique ecological framework and unparalleled vistas. The work of those selected spans the disciplines of poetry, dance, performance, sculpture, painting, and more.

This season’s residents will include: Zalika Azim, Jonathan González, Heidi Lau with Future Host, Jeremy Sorese, and Coco Young. The residents announced today were selected in partnership with the Trust for Governors Island from a public open call. Residents will work on Governors Island fall 2019 through fall 2020, and in that time will deepen their practices while developing new work to be presented during Governors Island’s 2020 public season. These projects, offered each month between May and September, will be offered to the island’s hundreds of thousands of visitors for free. The works presented will respond to the context of the island, as experienced by the residents during the course of their stay.

“Shandaken is proud to offer free studio space to important but under-recognized artists in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, in partnership with the Trust,” said Shandaken Projects director Nicholas Weist, “and the free programs created by our residents will be significant contributions to the cultural landscape of this historic public site.”

“Shandaken: Governors Island’s inaugural year was a huge success, resulting in a deeply researched work, new professional relationships and thoughtful engagement with audiences,” said Meredith Johnson, The Trust for Governors Island’s VP of Arts & Culture, “we are thrilled to welcome this new group of exceptional artists to the Island, deepening our ever growing and trailblazing cultural community here at the center of New York Harbor.”

Shandaken: Governors Island complements Shandaken’s extensive history of producing context sensitive, process-focused opportunities for artists. Shandaken’s programs Shandaken: Storm King (a free residency produced onsite at and in partnership with the world renowned outdoor museum Storm King Art Center) and Paint School (a free educational program hosted by NYU, The Cooper Union, The New School, and more) run concurrently with Shandaken: Governors Island. Shandaken: Governors Island continues Shandaken’s interest in supporting experimentation, process, and dialogue by important artists, independent from the marketplace.

A full schedule of resident-led public programming, as well as a full calendar of arts and cultural programming on Governors Island for next summer, will be released in spring 2020.

About the residents:

Zalika Azim is a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Extending from photography, her practice explores personal and collective narratives to investigate the ways in which memory, migration, movement, and the body are negotiated across and throughout the African diaspora. Azim’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, at venues including The Dean Collection, The International Center of Photography, Dorsky Gallery, 8th Floor Gallery, Diego Rivera Gallery, the Instituto Superior de Arte and The African American Museum in Philadelphia. She has completed solo projects with The Baxter Street Camera Club of New York and SOHO20. Azim holds a BFA in Photography and Imaging from the Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in Social and Cultural Analysis focused in Africana, Gender, and Sexuality studies from New York University. She has served as a teaching artist for Aperture Foundation, the Tisch School of the Art, and The Center for Court Innovation at Gavin Brown Gallery in Harlem. Zalika has assisted curatorial projects and research with The Walther Collection, the Photography Department at MoMA, and has previously served as The Studio Museum in Harlem's Imaging and Permanent Collections Associate. She is currently a curatorial fellow at NXTHVN in New Haven, CT, and will co-curate their inaugural exhibition during the winter of 2020.

Jonathan González is a NY-based artist working at the intersections of multidisciplinary andcollaborative practices for performance, text, sculpture, and film. Their work refers to the afterlives of slavery through eccentric juxtapositions, abstraction, and climate/planetary considerations. Works include: Working on Water in collaboration with Mario Gooden (Columbia School of Architecture, 2019), h/S: Jonathan González in collaboration with SB Fuller (CICCIO Gallery, 2019), Maroonage: Elaborations on the Stage and Staying Alive (Contact Quarterly), and Lucifer Landing I & II (MoMA PS1 x Abrons Arts Center, 2019). Curations include Sunday Service @ Knockdown Center and Movement Research Fall Festival: invisible material. An LMCC Workspace Resident (2018-19), NARS Foundation AIR (2018), Jerome Foundation Fellow (2019), Mertz Gilmore Grantee (2019), Diebold Awardee for Distinction in Choreography and Performance (2017), Soul Fire Farm BIPOC Fire (2019), and Bessie-nominee for Outstanding Production (ZERO, Danspace Project, 2018), and Breakout Choreographer (2019).

Heidi Lau (in residence with Future Host) grew up in Macau, and currently lives and works in New York. Lau’s highly textured and expressive ceramic work is modeled after tokens of remembrance—ritual objects, funerary monuments, and fossilized creatures—which are infested, deconstructed, and rebuilt by hand. Reconfiguring fragmented personal and collective memories, she makes collections of symbolic artifacts and zoomorphic ruins as materialization of the archaic and the invisible, taking inspiration from colonial architecture and tenement houses in Macau that have been demolished or gentrified beyond recognition. Her work has been exhibited in local and international institutions including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Bronx Museum of the Art, New York; the Museum of Chinese in America, New York; and the Macau Museum of Art. Her practice has been supported by numerous residencies and awards, including the Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, the Martin Wong Foundation Scholarship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptor Grant and the BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize. She currently represents Macau at the 58th Venice Biennale. Future Host (Tingying Ma and Kang Kang) is an artist duo searching for alternative forms of subsistence and resistance. They consider the world as emotive and sentient that can only be processed through epistemic inquiries. Espousing the perspective of post-socialist realist emotional mismanagement, they write and make performances with readiness and ecstasy.

Jeremy Sorese (b. 1988, Berlin) is a queer cartoonist and painter based out of Brooklyn, NYC. After graduating with a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010, he was accepted to the La Maison des Auteurs, a comics specific residency program in Angoulême, France, where he lived and worked from 2012 through 2013. His first book, Curveball, published with Nobrow in the fall of 2015, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. He is currently finishing a sequel titled For The Short While to be published with Archaia in 2020. He’s been teaching for the past nine years; from Elementary School children in Chicago, to the Maryland Institute College of Art, and most recently with Middle Schoolers as part of the after school arts program LeAp at M.S.51 in Park Slope. He’ll be teaching at Parsons School of Design this spring.

Coco Young (1989) is an artist who lives and works in New York. She was born in NYC and raised in Marseille, France. In 2019 she graduated with an MFA from Columbia University and holds a BA in Art History from the same institution. She works primarily in sculpture, installation, and video. Her recent work questions the validity of established linear notions of time and history through a feminist lens. She has had solo presentations at Interstate Projects (Brooklyn) and Princess (New York), and has exhibited at Downs & Ross (New York), Times Square Space (New York), the Wallach Art Gallery at the Lenfest Center for the Arts (NY), De School (Amsterdam), and at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).

Read about the 2018 resident artists of Shandaken: Governors Island here.

Meet the Governors Island Gardeners


Gardening team at work planting bulbs in Liggett Terrace.
This year, thanks to generous donations from supporters, Governors Island was able to hire our first-ever team of full-time, year-round gardeners. This small but mighty team of five cares for the 120 acres of open space on Governors Island–that’s the equivalent of 158 football fields! Each gardener focuses on a certain section, or “zone” of the Island's open spaces within the Historic District, and new park on the Southern portion of the Island. Assisted by the many helping hands of our corporate and individual volunteers, the team made a lot of great progress this year, including sowing 12 acres of seeds in the Hills, Hammock Grove and Liggett Terrace, pruning nearly 1,000 of the young trees in the new park and planting nearly 8,000 bulbs, which will bloom in 2020. Read on to learn more about the team and their important work.


Gardeners Dana (left) and Ben (right) working in their respective zones.

Gardening Zone: Hammock Grove
Tell us more about Hammock Grove: In addition to hammocks, Hammock Grove is home to the largest concentration of trees on the Island – 1,400 individual trees of 40 different species. I prune and care for them to foster a healthy and dynamic urban forest.
Favorite plant on the Island: Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)–part of my job is to remove this invasive plant from the landscapes. I have a healthy respect for my adversary!
Favorite place on the Island: Picnic Point, with it’s great view of the Statue of Liberty

Gardening Zone: Hammock Grove
What’s your day-to-day work like?: My role is to remove invasive phragmites and mugwort from Hammock Grove, so it remains a beautiful place for visitors to enjoy.
Favorite plant on the Island: Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Favorite place on the Island: Hammock Grove is divided into sections we call petals (because they look like the petals of a flower)–my favorite part of the Island is petal 12, near the Urban Farm.

Gardening Zone:
Liggett Terrace
What’s your favorite thing about Liggett Terrace?: Liggett Terrace is a unique space to build upon my fine gardening and design experience, as it is a formal garden connecting the older, historic North Island, and the newer, experimental South Island. I love that Liggett allows me the chance to play with flowers and colors.
Favorite plant on the Island: American Elm (Ulmus americana)
Favorite place on the Island: Nolan Park in the historic district

Gardening Zone: the Hills
Tell us more about the Hills: The four Hills were designed to help the Island be more resilient to climate change and rising sea levels. In addition to providing a great view for visitors, they’re also home to 42,000 shrubs and 800 trees that increase the Island’s biodiversity and attract pollinators and birds.
Favorite plant on the Island: Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
Favorite place on the Island: Discovery Hill

Gardening Zone: Outlook Hill and Discovery Hill
Which is your favorite of the four Hills?: Slide Hill is probably the most fun hill. I make sure it remains a fun place for kids of all ages to climb and play.
Favorite plant on the Island: Summer Sweet Shrub (Clethra alnifolia)
Favorite place on the Island: Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin on Discovery Hill

While Governors Island is closed for the season, the Horticulture team is still actively keeping the Island’s plants and landscapes healthy during the winter, while also strategically planning for the upcoming season. Keeping Governors Island vibrant is a year-round job!

Want to support the gardening team? Consider making a donation. Donations support their work to care for and beautify Governors Island’s landscapes, ensuring this Island remains a lush oasis for all New Yorkers to enjoy.


Chris at work with young volunteer gardeners.

Tenant Spotlight: LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island


Though Governors Island is currently closed to the public until next spring, year-round tenants bring hundreds of people to the Island every weekday to work and study in this unique environment.

One of these year-round tenants, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, opened this September with over 40,000 square feet of spacious galleries, welcoming activity space and versatile artist studios. Visitors perused the exhibitions at this renovated former munitions warehouse Thursdays through Sundays during the public season and participated in a wide variety of programs at the Take Care series every Saturday. While it waits for visitors to return next year, LMCC’s Arts Center is far from dormant.

Studio space in LMCC's Arts Center

Sixteen artists-in-residence utilize the Arts Center’s studio space year-round to work on a variety of projects spanning visual arts and writing, while choreographers work on dance pieces in the Arts Center’s practice spaces. The studios, one of which is provided to each artist for free, are open Mondays through Fridays for the residents to use all year. These roomy, light-filled works spaces afford room for their residents to practice printmaking, videography, sculpture, writing, and more, while the environment of the Arts Center and Governors Island itself provide a distinctive setting for creating art.

“The term 'incubator' very much resonated with us as we envisioned what LMCC’s Arts Center could be in this exciting new phase, and ensuring that residencies were an integral part of its identity feels like a natural manifestation of that metaphor. It also feels important to support as many diverse voices, artists, and practitioners through these programs so that we can build a cultural hub that is true to LMCC's mission. Our hope is that through this unique triangulation of space, time, and locale afforded by LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, we're not only serving artists but inviting them to help reimagine New York City's cultural landscape” - Bora Kim, LMCC Program Manager, Artist Residencies

“For nearly 50 years, LMCC has served, connected and made space for artists and community. The expansion of LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island and its residency program is an incredible milestone for both LMCC and Governors Island. LMCC's role in connecting Governors Island's audiences to the creative process has grown as well, through public programs and exhibitions as well as the support of artists of all disciplines with opportunities to incubate and present work that focuses on ecology, sustainability and resilience. We look forward to uniting artists and communities under our roof, an open and generous sanctuary with a view!” - Lili Chopra, LMCC Executive Director of Artistic Programs

The current resident artists, who make up the inaugural cohort of the residency program, have use of the space until November 2020, when a new selection of artists will move in. Visitors can see works created at LMCC’s Arts Center during Open Studios weekends held periodically in the public season.

Read what two of the current Resident Artists have to say about their Arts Center residencies below.

Aviva Rahmani

Aviva Rahmani in her studio at LMCC's Arts Center

What projects are you working on at the Arts Center?
“Blued Trees, Black Skies,” is about the tension between fossil fuel use and the struggle for life on Earth to survive. That will include creating a series of 20’x3’ translucent banners to suspend from groves of trees and branches trimmed and painted to be installed prone in the space. The one pictured in my studio is a 20’ long mulberry tree branch. Most of the new painted branches will be from the local English Plane trees culled at Earth Matter.

Rendering of "Blued Trees, Black Skies"

What unique opportunities or qualities does the studio space at the Arts Center offer?
The most dramatic opportunity is to have the space to work for over a year rather than be constantly worried about needing to leave or move my studio. The cohort of fellow artists share my concerns, making a convivial environment and the LMCC staff creates a supportive frame to outreach our work.

How does having space at the Arts Center affect your work or process?

It means I have time and space to not only focus my studio production but to deeply contemplate each step towards the realization of my present project without distraction. It means visitors can see and discuss my work in progress with me in a very impressive and accessible venue. It means I can closely observe the local trees that inspire me for over a year.

Has the Arts Center or Governors Island itself inspired any aspects of your work?
The groves of trees, the presence of Earth Matter; the complex history of the island: transforming a military base to a cultural base; the presence of so many other cultural centers and the view of the river from my studio are all profoundly, imaginatively moving. The steady stream of summer tourists has given me many ideas about designing space for human traffic as a discreetly informing experience.

Had you been to Governors Island before beginning your Arts Center residency?

Learn more about Aviva Rahmani on her website.

Hilary Lorenz

Hilary Lorenz's desk in her studio at LMCC's Arts Center

What projects are you working on at the Arts Center?
I am working on multiple projects while on GI. My original proposal to LMCC was investigating how water holds the ultimate fantasy of escape; whether by luxury ship or logs cobbled together, water offers passage, transformation and renewal. In 2016, I had the privilege of being ferried from Manhattan to Governors Island for my first LMCC residency. The trip became a meditation on the water and sparked my quest for boat building, shipping lane navigation, and accessibility, not just for transportation but physical and spiritual transformation.

I became obsessed with the idea of building my own canoe. And living in Red Hook, I am only a few hundred meters from GI. My fantasy is to carve my own boat to paddle back and forth. But for now, I am making prototypes from paper along with numerous drawings and linoleum block carvings of the water.

Coincidentally I was invited by two separate curators, one in the US and one in Australia, to create an art piece dealing with water and conservation. The water piece, and specifically paper boats, is for an exhibition in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fragility of the paper boats is significant for the island identity, noted for resourcefulness and respect for the water that defines its edges and boundaries, not unlike GI. The Australian work is more specific to the problems of plastics in the ocean. Both of these will be paperworks.

What unique opportunities or qualities does the studio space at the Arts Center offer?
Number one is year-round access to GI and a completely quiet studio with beautiful views onto the harbor. I love the ferry ride. I could simply ride the ferry back and forth all day long. I ride the ferry from Red Hook to Wall Street, then the GI ferry. I love being on the water, and having this opportunity allows me to interact and experience NYC, my home, in a whole other dimension.

How does having space at the Arts Center affect your work or process?
Having space at the Arts Center shows me a whole new way I can approach my work. I get hours of uninterrupted time. It is quiet. I can watch the weather change and the water churn all day long. The viewpoint from my desk lines up the windowsill to the water and it is as if I am on a ship. I feel like I am being rocked by the water’s currents. I am more relaxed and that allows me to be more thoughtful and delve into my work deeper.

A tugboat carving by Hilary Lorenz used at Open Studios for visitors to make their own prints

Has the Arts Center or Governors Island itself inspired any aspects of your work?
The renovation of the Arts Center is spectacular, the galleries are gorgeous. I simply love being on the Island. I love the forts, the history, and I love running around the Island. I am a person of repetition and I can run pretty long distances, so during my break I take in the whole island by running around it several times, just a methodic, repeating loop.

Had you been to Governors Island before beginning your Arts Center residency?
I have been coming to GI since 2006, but only once or twice a summer. Then in 2016 I had my first LMCC residency. I worked there daily from March to June. It completely changed my artwork and opened up a whole new world. I made three significant friends as we were there daily together. It was one of my best opportunities. I feel tremendously lucky to be there now.

Learn more about Hilary Lorenz on her website.

November on Governors Island: Horticulture Highlight


Governors Island welcomes visitors from spring through fall with a bounty of beautiful foliage. The abundant plant life across the Island’s historic district and rolling parkland provides a naturalistic escape from the city. This green oasis thrives thanks to the efforts of the Island’s Horticulture team, whose responsibilities continue all year long to maintain the Island’s plant life and, in the off-season, prepare it for the following year.

GI Horticulture team planting bulbs in Liggett Terrace

GI gardeners’ duties involve a variety of efforts that begin in November, like introducing thousands of new plants across the landscape. Flower beds receive new bulbs including tulips, daffodils, and ornamental alliums planted by hand that will bloom beautifully next season. At the Hills, gardeners use the technique of broadcasting seeds (scattering them over an area) rather than planting them individually to spread more plants over more terrain that can be difficult to traverse on foot. These plantings are timed based on the specific needs of the species in question; many seeds require a period of cold before germination can occur. For areas that are not being actively planted in November, gardeners spend this time planning future plantings to complete before the Island reopens.

Asters add color and help combat invasive species in Hammock Grove

The Horticulture team creates strategic plans for which plants to use in which areas, with biodiversity, aesthetics and the health of the ecosystem in mind. Many varieties are chosen for their ability to combat unwanted invasive species, like the winter rye planted on the Hills. Winter rye will germinate late this fall, and will already be established in April, hopefully early enough to outcompete invasive mugwort, which tends to stifle other plant life in its area. Similarly, Hammock Grove will receive white wood aster, already found in the Island’s historic district, which thrives in shaded areas and will claim the space under a thickening tree canopy, preventing weeds from getting established, while producing delightful flowers. All new plants on the Island are chosen with their abilities to stand up to the often-harsh Harbor environment and to support the health of the ecosystem in mind, with many species selected for their capacity to support animal life.

Established plants in Nolan Park receive care and pruning in the fall and winter

Established plants need plenty of attention this time of year, too. Some are dug up, divided, and transplanted to other planting beds or locations like the Island’s nursery for winter care before being planted out in the spring. Fallen leaves are added to plant beds for nutrients and to help prevent weed growth. Major housekeeping projects also begin in November, like tool maintenance, planning and ordering supplies, and professional development and continuing education for gardeners including staff exchanges with other parks and public spaces in the New York area. Once the trees have lost their last leaves, winter pruning will begin, contributing to their continued health and growth for years to come.

From November to April, the Horticulture team’s hands are full keeping the Island’s plants and landscapes healthy and ready to thrive once spring comes around again. While most visitors to GI don’t witness this work themselves, they enjoy its benefits during the Island’s public season. In the future, visitors will be able to appreciate the fruits of the Horticulture team’s labors every day of the year. Keeping Governors Island green is a year-round job, after all.

Building Governors Island: Building 9, the first Post Hospital


Over 50 beautiful, historic buildings permeate the 92-acre Historic District that covers Governors Island’s northern half. In the Building Governors Island series, we’ll examine some of these notable structures, their individual histories and the roles they’ve played in the Island’s history as a whole, beginning with Nolan Park’s Building 9.

A few historic buildings stand out from the yellow wooden houses that dominate Nolan Park. Some grab more attention than others; it’s hard not to notice the cannon-flanked entrance to the Admiral’s House. Building 9, a cube of brick and stone sandwiched between two of the iconic houses, attracts fewer glances. While not always the center of attention, Building 9 embodies the last two centuries of Governors Island’s history better than most other buildings on the Island today.

An 1859 map of GI showing Building 9 predating Nolan Park. Image courtesy of Ann Buttenwieser

Built in 1839 to serve as Governors Island’s military Post Hospital, Building 9 has seen a variety of uses and names through its 180-year history. It helped define the area of Nolan Park long before the yellow houses appeared and today stands as one of the oldest structures on the Island. Even while serving its original purpose of hospital and medical training center, Building 9 housed officers and prisoners as well, being referred to as the Block House for that purpose. Notably, a young Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant stayed in the Block House in 1852 while his unit was briefly stationed on the Island.

Elevation of Building 9 with General Hospital wing

As the Island’s Post Hospital, the facility was often stretched to its limits. An influx of wounded Union soldiers and thousands of Confederate prisoners during the Civil War reinforced the need for a more robust hospital on GI. In 1862, a large wooden structure was added to the building, nearly doubling the hospital’s capacity. This expansion, which no longer exists today, elevated the facility to the rank of General Hospital, designating Governors Island as a destination for treatment and recovery.

Building 9’s wooden hospital wing addition in 1864. Image courtesy of Ann Buttenwieser

The General Hospital wing came and went, and eventually a new structure was built to serve as Post Hospital for the Island. In 1874, the Army converted Building 9 to fill other roles including kitchen and mess hall, court chambers, chapel and even ballroom. Now, Building 9 serves as housing for Governors Island ferry crews who stay there when the Samuel Coursen (Governors Island's main ferry, in service since 1956) docks on the Island overnight.

Photo by Erika Clark

The history of Building 9 echoes the history of the Island itself in some ways. It has served many purposes, gone by different names, and housed an impressive variety of occupants. While not the grandest building in Nolan Park, its humble exterior belies its rich history as one of the most storied structures on Governors Island.

Watch live readings by two poets in Shantell Martin’s The May Room


Intimate and expansive at the same time, the atmosphere inside Shantell Martin’s immersive installation, The May Room, lends itself particularly well to celebrations of the written and spoken word.

The May Room has hosted a variety of public poetry reading events since opening in September, three of which were presented by the Poetry Society of America showcasing poets from diverse backgrounds through partner organizations including CantoMundo and Kundiman.

The last Poetry Society of America-produced event, Puerto Rico en mi corazón, celebrated the poetry collection of the same name published this year in response to Hurricane Maria and the storm’s profound effects on Puerto Rico and its people. Featuring works by 40 poets in both Spanish and English, Puerto Rico en mi corazón provides a human perspective on the disaster while its proceeds benefit hurricane relief efforts.

For the event, Puerto Rican poets Raquel Salas Rivera and Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, both co-editors of the eponymous collection, performed live readings of works of theirs included in the book. See videos of the readings below and on the Poetry Society of America’s Youtube page.

Shantell Martin’s The May Room enlivens the interior of Our Lady Star of the Sea, a deconsecrated former chapel, into a modern site for reflection, contemplation and connection. The May Room and its lineup of programs like Puerto Rico en mi corazón breathe new life into the structure, making use of it for the first time in over 20 years.

The May Room will be open for special viewing hours on Wednesday 10/30 and Thursday 10/31, 1-4pm both days, before the end of Governors Island’s 2019 public access season.

Read more about The May Room and Puerto Rico en mi corazón.

Governors Island opens its annual call for proposals for indoor programs and exhibitions for the 2020 season


The Trust for Governors Island has opened its annual call for proposals for free indoor exhibition space, open to artistic, cultural, environmental and educational organizations for the 2020 public season. Space inside over two dozen historic former officers’ homes will be offered to non-profit organizations proposing free public programs, including art and educational exhibitions, performances, workshops, screenings, talks and more.

“Each season, arts and cultural organizations from across New York bring Governors Island’s historic district to life with groundbreaking and experimental arts, environmental and educational programming for all ages,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Governors Island provides an unforgettable venue for cultural organizations and non-profits to present work in front of a highly engaged, diverse public audience.”

With a growing number of visitors of all ages from across New York, the United States and abroad, Governors Island offers an unprecedented opportunity for arts, environmental, cultural and educational organizations to reach the public in a singular setting. In 2019, 30 organizations presented exhibits, workshops, performances and talks, and hosted artists-in-residence in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row, once home to military officers and their families during Governors Island’s nearly two-century history as a military base. These homes dating from the late nineteenth century provide multiple rooms of various sizes, often across two floors, that can be used for installations, exhibitions, artist studios, intimate performance venues or spaces for small workshops and educational programs.

“Governors Island has the rare combination of unparalleled historic space, rich ecology and an ever growing local, national and international audience at the center of our country’s largest metropolis,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “The cultural community is the heart of New York City, and we are thrilled to be able to share the Island’s unique resources with leading cultural organizations from across the city.”

Proposing organizations will present free public programming during the hours of 11am to 5pm on weekends during the public season (May 1–October 31, 2020). Organizations who apply are encouraged to propose programs that emphasize diverse public participation and engagement. Proposals will be evaluated based on the overall quality of the proposed program; fit and alignment with the Island’s dynamic arts, cultural and educational programming; track-record of conceptualizing, producing and organizing other programs and events; commitment to connecting with diverse audiences; and engagement with the Island as a site, including its history, ecology, architecture and relationship to the rest of New York City. The application and additional information on hosting indoor programs is available at

Halloween in the Harbor: Pumpkin Point, Trick or Treating and Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns Return to Governors Island this October


October 1, 2019. Governors Island today announced its lineup of fall and Halloween-related programming for October. Just in time for fall, Governors Island’s historic district will transform during the last two weekends of October with Pumpkin Point, a free, family-friendly patch of over 5,000 pumpkins opening October 19 in historic Nolan Park.Lighting up Colonels Row evenings October 17-20 and October 24-27, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns will bring back a spectacular ticketed nighttime event featuring over a thousand hand-carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns. And on Saturday afternoon, October 26, young visitors and their families are invited to come in costume for free Trick or Treating at Nolan Park’s historic former officers’ homes.

“The fall season is just as vibrant as the summer on Governors Island,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to take a short ferry ride and experience the colorful fall foliage, seasonal programs for all ages, and all that Governors Island has to offer through October 31.”

Located in historic Nolan Park, Pumpkin Point will bring over 5,000 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to Governors Island, transforming the idyllic setting along with its naturally stunning fall foliage into a delightfully autumnal escape during the last two weekends of October. Visitors are invited to stroll through the pumpkin patch and purchase their own pumpkins, while enjoying free, Halloween-inspired arts and craft activities with Children’s Museum of the Arts, including pumpkin painting and a costume design workshop. Governors Island’s own Little Eva’s will offer a menu of seasonally inspired food and beverages, with Threes Brewing hosting a pop up bar serving their tasty craft brews.

Pumpkin Point will be open October 19-20 and October 26-27, 10 AM-6 PM. Pumpkins will also be available for purchase Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, 10 AM-5 PM.

“Governors Island gives New Yorkers the chance to experience a true ‘small town Halloween’ feeling without leaving the big city,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Everyone is invited to our car-free oasis to crunch through the autumn leaves, go trick-or-treating at our front porches, and pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home.”

As part of Pumpkin Point, Governors Island will once again host free Trick-or-Treating on Saturday, October 26. Beginning at 1 PM, young visitors and their families are encouraged to come in costume and join the Island’s dozens of arts and cultural organizations in Nolan Park to receive free treats. Trick-or-Treating will be first come, first serve and will last throughout the afternoon until supplies run out. Blazing Saddles will also offer free candy for Trick-or-Treaters at its Liggett Terrace location that day.

This year’s Pumpkin Point and Trick-or-Treating events are co-presented by the Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island. Generous support for the events is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Any pumpkins left over from Pumpkin Point will be baked into pumpkin pies and donated to The Bowery Mission, which serves homeless and hungry New Yorkers, or composted on Governors Island by Earth Matter, which runs the Island’s Compost Learning Center.

Continuing the Halloween fun into evenings in October, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns will return to Governors Island for the first time since 2017, bringing more intricately carved and painted pumpkins than ever before to historic Colonels Row. Visitors are invited to experience the Island after dark between October 17-20 and October 24-27 to enjoy a display of one thousand pumpkins designed by master carvers and illuminated for nighttime viewing. Presented by RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns also features live carving demonstrations and makes for a perfect, family-friendly fall outing. Advance tickets are required. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Governors Island Named One of 13 Great Places by the American Planning Association


Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2019) — The American Planning Association (APA) has named Governors Island in New York, New York one of six Great Public Spaces on APA’s annual Great Places in America list, which starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October.

“Over the past decade, Governors Island has seen a remarkable transformation from an abandoned former military base, closed to the public, into a vibrant hub of open space, recreation and creativity in New York City,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Thanks to proactive community planning, along with visionary leadership at the local, city, state and federal level, today Governors Island is a beloved resource for New Yorkers and visitors alike, and a model for great public spaces across the country. We are thrilled to be selected as one of APA’s Great Places in 2019 and to be among great company with this year’s honorees. We thank APA and its leadership for this recognition.”

APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces of 2019 are places that are unique and exemplary in their success stories of revitalization, cultural identity, and strong community connection.

“The public spaces recognized this year demonstrate the importance of planning in creating welcoming, multi-use spaces for the entire community to enjoy and come together,” said Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, APA president. “Governors Island is a national example of how imaginative, resiliency-focused planning can be applied to recreational public spaces.”

For much of its history, Governors Island served as a U.S. military base at the center of New York Harbor. When the federal government sold the island to the state and city of New York in the early 2000s, the transfer sparked a vision to transform this former Coast Guard installation into a public recreational resource for the surrounding community. The Trust for Governors Island, a non-profit organization created by the city of New York, was charged with the planning and redevelopment of the site. Through a series of community planning events surrounding the design of Governors Island’s park and public spaces, New Yorkers shared their vision for an open space that preserves history, educates all generations about sustainability and environmental stewardship, serves as a haven for cultural celebrations and safe recreation, and protects against rising sea levels.

West 8 partnered with Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects to develop the Island’s Park and Public Space Master Plan, and the result is a new, 43-acre green paradise with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York Harbor and the dramatic New York City skyline. Closed to the public for nearly two centuries, the Island today is a popular seasonal destination with cultural activities, events, public art, educational programs and one of New York City’s first car-free recreational environments.

Looking forward, Governors Island is envisioned as a year-round, sustainable campus for learning, arts and culture and entrepreneurship with extraordinary open space. The transformation of Governors Island into a year-round community is underway with the addition of a public high school and arts center.

In addition to Governors Island, APA has also recognized the following Great Public Spaces in 2019:

  • Pioneer Park – Mesa, Arizona
  • Neponset River Greenway – Milton and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook – Amsterdam, New York
  • Gathering Place – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Discovery Green – Houston, Texas

Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.

For the sixth year, members of the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, individuals can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using the hashtag #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists that the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced October 30, 2019.

For more information about APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces for 2019 and previous years, visit

Learn more about APA’s National Community Planning Month by visiting

LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island Opens to the Public


September 19, 2019. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and the Trust for Governors Island celebrated today the public opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. The first year-round tenant dedicated to arts and culture on Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center is a new home for artists and audiences and will host a diverse range of free arts, cultural and educational programming, including a year-round artist residency program. Beginning today, the Arts Center will be open Thursday-Sunday through the remainder of Governors Island’s public season.

Conceived as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island features over 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to public performances, exhibitions and artist residencies, visual and performing arts studios and the Island’s first indoor cafe. Beginning today, the Arts Center will also host a year-round artist residency program, providing studio space for up to 20 individual artists, ensembles and choreographers. Cultural programming will take place throughout Governors Island’s public season, which currently runs between May 1 and October 31. LMCC’s inaugural season program will host works and artists that investigate issues of ecology, sustainability and history, including site-specific exhibitions by Yto Barrada with guest artist Bettina and Michael Wang, as well as The Take Care Series featuring artists and collectives Olafur Elliason, Jesse Paris Smith, Tattfoo Tan, House of Trees and Jérôme Bel.

Located in an 1870s former ordnance warehouse within the Governors Island Historic District, LMCC partnered with the Trust for Governors Island on an interior and exterior renovation to reimagine the building for the 21st century. The interior renovation, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Adamson Associates Architects and engineered by BuroHappold Engineering, features open plan artist studios, two floors of galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces and a café, and successfully reveals the stunning structure of the waterfront historic building, while keeping its spaces flexible for a variety of uses.

Representatives from LMCC, The Trust for Governors Island, the City of New York, elected officials and cultural leaders joined a ribbon cutting ceremony on Governors Island on September 19 to mark the official opening of the Arts Center. LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will be open to the public Thursday-Sunday from 12PM-5PM for the remainder of Governors Island’s public season. The Arts Center will continue its operations year-round, as an artist residency program.

We’re excited to welcome the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to their new home on Governors Island,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been.” As the island’s first permanent cultural tenant, LMCC will provide a vibrant space for art creation and enjoyment for Governors Island visitors. Moreover, the center will have an outsized role in giving artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the City’s thriving arts scene.”

“LMCC is a cultural anchor of New York City and Lower Manhattan, uniting cultural and institutional partners with its visionary leadership in the arts,” said Timur Galen, Chair of the Board of LMCC. “In partnership with the Trust for Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will enable LMCC to continue its work with artists and the creation of exceptional artistic programming for broad audiences for the long term.”

“Arts, culture and creativity have made Governors Island the special place it is today, and with LMCC’s Arts Center, they now have a permanent home,” said Alicia Glen, former Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development and Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. “The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a testament to our commitment to making New York City an affordable place for artists to work while realizing our vision to unlock the potential of Governors Island as a place for New Yorkers to learn, work and create.”

“We are thrilled to expand upon the decades-long work of LMCC to connect artists and communities through our model of service and sharing of the creative process, said Lili Chopra, LMCC’s Executive Director of Artistic Programs. “The deep roots of LMCC’s presence in Manhattan’s arts and cultural landscape are now prominently visible through LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. Through the inaugural exhibitions of Yto Barrada and Bettina, Michael Wang, and the Take Care series, as well as work that will be developed by the inaugural family of artists-in-residence, we invite the public into LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island to reflect on the world we inhabit. How can we better care for ourselves, those around us and the planet as a whole?”

“For over 45 years, LMCC has championed artists and their visions in transforming urban spaces,” said Diego S. Segalini, LMCC’s Executive Director of Finance & Administration. “LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a gift to all New Yorkers in a time of intense economic inequity and ecological crisis. The Arts Center will be a space of conversation and thought. It reflects the mission and values of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to serve and connect artists and communities on a human and personal scale, completely aligned with Governors Island’s commitment to the City, water and the environment.”

“The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center is an exciting milestone in the transformation of Governors Island as a hub of creativity and a year-round part of New York City’s cultural life,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “The Trust was thrilled to partner with LMCC on this project in creating a vibrant new home for artists, free cultural programs and community engagement. As our first permanent cultural tenant on Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center is a model for how the historic district can be reimagined for the 21st century.”

“LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will further cement the status of Governors Island as a truly indispensable resource for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “The new center will not only serve as a vibrant space for visitors to experience art but will also provide a diverse array of artists with an opportunity to showcase their work and participate in New York’s art scene. I am proud to have worked with LMCC and the Trust for Governors Island to bring this center to the island, and I look forward to partnering with the Trust as they bring more opportunities for enrichment to New Yorkers.”

“Governors Island just keeps getting more exciting for New Yorkers, and that couldn’t be more true with its new addition, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m happy to welcome LMCC to its new home, and look forward to watching it flourish into a dazzling part of the arts-and-culture scene of this City.”

“The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is an important milestone in the continued transformation of Governors Island from a sleepy little island into a place where New Yorkers can go to experience and enjoy our history, spectacular views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, partake in recreational activities and after today enjoy a permanent arts complex in a former munitions warehouse,” said US Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Active in Lower Manhattan since 1973, I am proud to be a supporter of LMCC and congratulate them on the opening of this new home for artistic expression that will help transform Governors Island into a cultural destination and a year-round hub of creativity and innovation.”

“For decades, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has played an important role in fostering and sustaining New York City artists,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “By establishing Governors Island’s first year-round, permanent home for artists and audiences, LMCC will continue to support our city’s cultural diversity. Congratulations to LMCC executive directors Lili Chopra and Diego Segalini for reaching this great milestone and to the artists who will have their work on display during the Arts Center’s inaugural year.”

“LMCC’s new Arts Center at Governors Island will provide a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work, allowing the community to engage with themes of ecology, sustainability, and resilience through a number of creative outlets and events,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “In a time where the dangers of climate change are increasingly dire, we need more discussion of our relationship with nature and the environment. The exhibits and workshops at the Arts Center will help facilitate these discussions between artists and the public with issues relevant to Governors Island and New York City at large.”

“Governors Island is a gem that has already become a unique hub for NYC residents and visitors, attracting over 800,000 people last year alone for its exciting attractions, stellar views, and vibrant cultural programming,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “The opening of LMCC’s new Arts Center offers a spectacular new venue for creativity and dialogue, and adds to our city’s supply of free and affordable studio space. It permanently cements a home for artists in this remarkable place making it a year-round cultural destination for all New Yorkers.”

“The addition of LMCC to Governors Island is exciting and yet a natural combination whose sum will be greater than the parts,” said Anthony Notaro, Jr., Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. “It will benefit Lower Manhattan and the City at large. We welcome this and look forward to wonderful things to come.”

“The opening of the LMCC Arts Center is a giant step forward in achieving our organization’s founding vision of Governors Island as a place for public enrichment and enjoyment.” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “LMCC’s programs are breathing new life into a historic building, offering New Yorkers a chance to discover new perspectives on arts and culture in their city, and fostering a year-round community that will help shape the Island’s future. We look forward to working closely with the Trust and LMCC to continue enhancing the visitor experience on Governors Island.”

Since 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) has served tens of thousands of artists and arts groups in New York City with critical financial support, training, networking and long-term studio residency programs. As a champion of independent artists and a vital cultural force in city arts, LMCC connects audiences with public presentations of artists’ work (including its flagship River To River Festival), creating innumerable cultural experiences and programs across Manhattan, free of charge and welcome to all.


Beginning September 19, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is open to the public Thursday-Sunday from 12PM-5PM. LMCC’s Arts Center is accessible by ferries to Governors Island operating to and from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Arts Center is a 2-minute walk from the Soissons Landing pier. For the Governors Island ferry schedule, please visit

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